Pilates is a type of exercise that strengthens and tones your entire body by creating resistance through springs attached to a special piece of equipment while also incorporating the weight of your body into the resistance. It is a low-impact form of exercise that strengthens your muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. One of the goals of Pilates is to place equal emphasis on the eccentric versus concentric phase of muscle contraction. Think building strength without building bulk, or building muscle stamina, not fatigue. The focus of Pilates is to use your core, not just building a six-pack, but rather strengthening the deep muscles of the back, abdomen and pelvic floor. All of these muscles are responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and spine during movement and also play a significant role in preventing back pain. The “core” is meant to be engaged during each movement or exercise that is performed. A lot of emphasis is also placed on the Transversus Abdominus as this is the deepest abdominal muscles that lies closest to your organs and it is the only abdominal muscle that attaches to your spine. Learning to properly activate and strengthen this muscle will help stabilize and support your spine throughout your movement. Pilates looks at training the body as a whole, no muscle is overtrained or undertrained. Each exercise or workout is designed to improve strength, flexibility, tone and bring you better balance. Joseph Pilates came up with 6 principles to describe the movement of Pilates and to incorporate each of these principles into your workout.
The 6 principles are as follows:
- Breath- connect your breath to Movement
- Concentration- Use your concentration to engage every muscle
- Center- Strive to feel centered in each exercise/movement
- Control- control the movement, do not rush the movement
- Flow- make sure your movement has fluidity to it
- Precision- precise movement and form